Story Behind The Hymn, “Art Thou Weary, Art Thou Languid”

This hymn was written by John Mason Neale.In 1840 Neale became a minister of the Church of England. He was a man of mystical temperament, and his practices were so close to Roman Catholicism that he aroused much popular prejudice. At one time he was attacked by a mob as he was attending the funeral of one of the sisters of St. Margaret.

Dr. Neale was particularly fond of the songs of the old monks written in Greek and Latin, and he did more than any one else to make them known to the present world.

The hymn, Art thou weary, art thou languid, is a translation from the Greek of St. Stephen the Sabaite, who was a monk who lived near Bethlehem, overlooking the Dead Sea. The monk, who was born in 725 A.D., was placed in that solitary monastery at the age of ten years by his uncle, and left there for fifty years. He died in 794. Here is the beautiful hymn that he wrote:

Art Thou Weary, Art Thou Languid Hymn Lyrics

(1) Art thou weary, art thou languid,
Art thou sore distrest?
Come to Me, saith One, and coming
Be at rest!

(2) Hath He marks to lead me to Him,
If He be my Guide?
In His Feet and Hands are Wound-prints,
And His Side.

(3) Hath He diadem as Monarch
That His Brow adorns?
Yea, a Crown, in very surety,
But of thorns.

(4) If I find Him, if I follow,
What His guerdon here?
Many a sorrow, many a labour,
Many a tear.

(5) If I still hold closely to Him,
What hath He at last?
Sorrow vanquishd, labour ended,
Jordan past.

(6) If I ask Him to receive me,
Will He say me nay?
Not till earth, and not till Heavn
Pass away.

(7) Finding, following, keeping, struggling,
Is He sure to bless?
Angels, Martyrs, Prophets, Virgins,
Answer, Yes!

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